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Archive for March 18th, 2011

Justice Dept. Mulls Over Asking Supreme Court to Consider Case Involving GPS Device

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyers over at the Justice Department are trying to figure out whether they should ask the Supreme Court to consider a case with far reaching implications involving the use of a GPS to track a criminal, the Blog of Legal Times reports.

The case centers around former D.C. night club owner Antoine Jones, who was convicted of drug trafficking. Last August, the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the conviction and life sentence, ruling that federal investigators violated his Fourth Amendment rights by not getting a warrant before they placed a GPS on his car. He remains in custody pending a new trial.

The deadline to file a petition before the court is April 15, the blog reported.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutors Say Sentence for ex-ICE Official Could Set Record

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are hoping on Monday to land the toughest sentence in the history of federal corruption cases when former ICE official Constantine Peter Kallas appears in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The former Assistant Chief Counsel at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found guilty of three dozen corruption offenses nearly one year ago for  taking a series of bribes from immigrants seeking documentation to remain in the U.S..

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said: Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 353 months – nearly 30 years. If the judge adopts this recommendation, we believe this would be the longest sentenced ever issued in a federal corruption case. (However, in the interest of full disclosure, the judge at a prior hearing indicated he was considering a sentence of approximately 20 years, which would still make it one of the longest public corruption sentences ever issued.)”

Authorities said Kallen has been in federal prison since August 2008, about two months after he was busted in an FBI sting and videotaped at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, Calif. “where he and his wife accepted a bribe from an immigrant”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He accepted a series of bribes, some as high as $20,000, authorities said.

Authorities said court documents show that besides Kallas’ salary, the couple had deposited $950,000 in their bank accounts since 2000.

Ooops! Buffalo U.S. Atty. Apologizes After ICE Agents Raid Wrong Home at Gunpoint


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

“Ooops” and “sorry” are the two things that come to mind in this case.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. of Buffalo and Lev J. Kubiak, head of the Homeland Security Investigations in that city, apologized to a businessman whose home was mistakenly raided earlier this month by ICE agents, the Buffalo News reported.

The paper reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents , with guns drawn, broke down the back door of a local businessman’s home around 7 a.m. while he and his wife were sleeping.

Agents had a search warrant for a child pornography case, and seized his computer equipment, the Buffalo News reported.

Turns out,a few days later authorities arrested a 25-year-old man who allegedly used the businessman’s unprotected Wifi to download child porn, the paper reported.

U.S. Atty. William Hochul Jr./doj photo

The paper reported that Barry N. Covert, an attorney for the businessman, said the U.S. Attorney “expressed genuine remorse and regret for what had transpired.” Hochul also offered to apologize to the businessman in person, and added that his client had no intention of suing.

Covert added that Hochul also offered to meet with his client and apologize personally.

To read more click here.

New Orleans Man Arrested for Sending Threatening Emails to FBI Agent That Referenced Agent’s Son


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

We all get annoying emails – but these were apparently way over the top.

Authorities earlier this week arrested a New Orleans man for sending threatening emails to an FBI agent that referenced the agent’s son, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The paper reported that David Christenson Jr. , 53, was accused of sending the emails to FBI agent Steve Rayes on two occasions within a week

The emails came after Christenson ran into Rayes and his son in the Warehouse District in New Orleans on March 4, the paper reported, citing a police report. Rayes had interviewed the suspect in February over some inappropriate emails to judges and their employees, the paper reported.

The Times-Picayune reported that Christenson walked up to Rayes during the encounter in the Warehouse District “with a ‘wild, glazed look”on his face and tried to ask Rayes about his son, according to the police report. Rayes excused himself and kept walking with his son, the report said.”

The next day, Christenson allegedly sent  Rayes an email, according to l that said: “You have no idea how strange it was to run into you and your son last night … Your son is now connected to this bizarre story. Being connected to me is not usually a good thing. I am sorry. You and your son will be in my prayers.”

On March 11,  he sent another letter that allegedly said:  “You got your son involved. Why? … A lot of people who are connected (to) me are dying … YOU SHOULD ALL BE VERY CAREFUL.”

Rep. Issa Blasts ATF in Letter Over Gun Running Operations

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy over  ATF programs designed to stop the flow of guns into Mexico isn’t going away. Some guns have been used in serious crimes.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has fired off a letter to Ken Melson, head of ATF, accusing the agency of failing to cooperate with a Congressional inquiry into the matter. Issa has directed ATF to provide documents and information to Congress by month’s end. The letter was posted on the CBS news website.

The letter referenced  two ATF operations — Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious — which allowed gun traffickers to buy guns and subsequently sell them, all with hopes of tracking them to the drug cartels in Mexico. But investigations have found the guns have been used in crimes including in the deaths of Border Patrol Agent  Brian Terry in Arizona in December and ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico in February

“Recent media reports have raised grave questions about your department’s handling of operations involving gun trafficking in Mexico,” the March 16 letter says.

“In the aftermath of the tragic killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jamie Zapata, it is imperative that you act decisively to assuage the public’s deep suspicions that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has a policy permitting – and even encouraging – the movement of guns into Mexico by straw purchasers.”

“It has been brought to my attention that you are not cooperating with the congressional inquiries into Project Gun Runner and Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa wrote.

The Mexican government is also investigated the matter.

ATF did not immediately respond for comment on Friday morning.

Read the letter

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH REP. ISSA